Telluride Science Town Talk: “Beam Me Up Scotty: Demystifying the Quantum World,” 6/11!

Telluride Science Town Talk: “Beam Me Up Scotty: Demystifying the Quantum World,” 6/11!

This coming week the 2024 Telluride Science Town Talks series kicks off with Dr. Michael R. Wasielewski. His subject, “Beam Me Up, Scotty! Demystifying the Quantum World.” The event takes place Tuesday, June 11, 6:30 pm, doors, 6 p.m., at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. Town Talks are FREE and open to the public.

Note: Telluride Science is committed to expanding its public outreach programming. This summer, Telluride Science is hosting the greatest number of Town Talks the nonprofit has held to date, a total of nine. All Town Talks will be held at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village.

Visit to learn more about Telluride Science and the capital campaign to transform the historic Telluride Depot into the Telluride Science & Innovation Center. The venue will be permanent home for Telluride Science and a global hub of inspired knowledge exchange and development where great minds get to solve great challenges.

The 2024 Telluride Science Town Talks series is being presented by Alpine Bank with additional support from the Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association.

Go here for more on Telluride Science.

Go here for more on Town Talks.

Science fiction conjures notions of distant space travel, extraterrestrial life, and parallel universes. According to Dr. Michael R. Wasielewski aspects of this fantasy world are much closer to our reality than we might expect.

On Tuesday, June 11, Telluride Science is honored to host Dr. Michael Wasielewski. In his talk, the very first Town Talk of the summer season, “Demystifying the Quantum World,” the renowned scientist will explore the quantum world and applications of related technologies under development.

Now, think Star Trek.

We might imagine teleportation occurs by copying an object in one location, then moving it to another. Not true. The transporter in Star Trek moves objects from one location to another by destroying the object in the original location, then reconstructing it at a new destination.

Dr. Wasielewski, the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry and Applied Physics at Northwestern University, explains further: “Similarly, the superposition state of an electron can be moved from one electron to another by destroying the information carried by the source electron and reconstructing it at the destination electron.”

Physicists refer to this phenomenon as teleportation. Yes, just like the sci-fi move in Star Trek – but on a much smaller scale.

A phenomenon such as teleportation falls under the banner of quantum information science (QIS).

QIS emerged from studies of the smallest objects in nature, such as molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles, like electrons, and light (photons). Per CalTech, “…The field (QIS) promises to deepen our understanding of the universe and deliver groundbreaking technology, from quantum computers to ultra-precise measuring devices to next-generation materials…”

Out of this world…

2024 Town Talks, schedule:

• June 11: “Beam Me Up, Scotty! Demystifying the Quantum World”
• June 18: “Ethics of Emerging Technologies: The Era of Artificial Intelligence”
• June 25: “Inspired by Nature: Understanding Chemistry that Powers Our Planet”
• July 9: “”Quantum Simulations of the Origins of Life: Life-giving Molecules from Planetary Impacts”
• July 16: “Methane: Supercharging Nature’s Solution to Reverse Climate Change”
• July 23: “Clean Energy’s Reliance on Dirty Magnets: The Source and a Solution”
• July 30:  “The Nature of Information”
• August 6: “Chromatin: Your DNA in a Package”
• August 13: “Observing Thunderstorms and Extreme Weather from Space”

Dr. Michael Wasielewski, more:

Image, courtesy, Telluride Science.

Dr. Wasielewski received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

Wasielewski’s interest in a scientific career began at age eight, inspired by the beginnings of the space program. His passion evolved into an interest in astronomy and chemistry. Specifically Dr. Wasielewski’s career began with the exploration of the primary light capture events in photosynthetic organisms. He then shifted his focus into studying the fundamentals of light capture and energy storage in small molecules that could be used for artificial photosynthesis.

About 12 years ago,  another shift: Wasielewski began his work in the field of quantum information. That happened after it became obvious that the light capture processes that he had been studying produced electrons with special properties which are highly desirable for quantum computing, communications, and sensing.

Today, Dr. Wasielewski is the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry and Applied Physics at Northwestern University.

He is also the Director of the Initiative for Quantum Information Research and Engineering at Northwestern (INQUIRE).

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